Dr. Ana Rita C. Morais recently accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in the School of Engineering at the University of Kansas. Dr. Morais received her Ph.D. in Sustainable Chemistry from NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal in 2018. Her doctoral research was focused on the development of sustainable solvent systems based on supercritical and sub-critical fluids for producing fuels and chemicals from biomass. While pursuing her Ph.D., Dr. Morais developed a new ammonia-based technology for upgrading lignocellulosic biomass in Michigan Biotechnology Institute (MSU-MBI) and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC). After completing her Ph.D., Dr. Morais was hired as a post-doctoral research associate to work on the determination of thermodynamic and transport properties of refrigerants with low global warming potential in lubricating oils, in collaboration with Chemours Company. In 2019, Dr. Morais joined National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado, to investigate the performance of a catalytic process for upgrading lignin from varying sources into valuable aromatic platform chemicals. In addition, Dr. Morais worked on a project under the BOTTLETM U.S. Department of Energy Consortium aiming to recycle post-consumer plastics using an organocatalyzed process. Dr. Morais’s research interests focus on developing economically viable and energy-efficient technologies for upgrading lignocellulose and mixed plastic wastes and exploring potential synergies between lignocellulosic biomass conversion and plastic recycling.
Dr. Lundin joined Professor Mark Shiflett’s research group as a Research Associate in January 2021. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2003 during which time he worked at the Center for Applied Energy Research designing and building the control system and data acquisition system for an iron catalyst-based Fisher-Tropsch pilot plant. In 2009 he earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Notre Dame. For his doctorate, he modeled bubble coalescence in the multi-phase flows present in direct methanol fuel cells. He then joined the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysts at the University of Kansas, where he led projects ranging from a collaboration with Archer Daniels Midland Co. to investigate the use of liquid CO2 as a medium for the ozonolysis of fatty acid methyl esters to an effort with W.R. Grace & Co. investigating the modification of microporous catalysts for enhancing the yields and directing selectivity in the synthesis of pyridines using a fluidized bed reactor. Dr. Lundin is currently working on an industry funded project to design an ionic liquid-based gas absorption system.
Berlyn Mellein joined Professor Mark Shiflett’s research group as a Research Associate in January 2020. Dr. Mellein received her B.S. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2003 and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Notre Dame in 2008. For her doctorate, she studied the anti-solvent ability and solvatochromatic effects of CO2 in ionic liquid/organic mixtures. She then joined DuPont, where she contributed to programs ranging from increasing production capacity by studying fundamental properties of polymer fibers to studying oxalate chemistry for TiO2 and Fe2O3 production. Dr. Mellein is currently working in collaboration with ExxonMobil to better understand thermophysical properties and vapor liquid equilibria of hydrocarbons in aqueous salt solutions.
Dr. Rajkumar Kore has been working as a Senior Researcher with Dr. Mark Shiflett’s research group since May 2018. His current research interests are design ionic liquids (IL) for catalysis, separation, materials development, etc. Prior to joining Dr. Shiflett’s group, Dr. Kore worked as a postdoctoral research scientist with Prof. Robin D. Rogers’ group at The University of Alabama from November 2014 to April 2018. There, he worked on multiple IL-based projects, led a team of research postdocs on an industrially sponsored project (from Reliance Industries) and developed several homogeneous and heterogeneous ILs used for catalysis and separation processes. Dr. Kore completed his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar with Prof. Rajendra Srivastava, from 2010 to 2014. His doctoral study was primarily focused on the development of ILs as well as porous materials like hierarchical zeolites for catalysis. Prior to his Ph.D., he worked as a research assistant on development of a continuous process for biodiesel in the Indo-US project in NCL Pune from 2009 to 2010. He has 34 research articles (with 708 citations), 4 US patents granted and filed 3, 15 notice of invention submitted on new catalysts, and multiple other works under review.
Hannes Schmidt received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Rostock in 2019 for experimental analyses of thermodynamic seawater properties at PTB, the national metrology institute of Germany. Hannes’ results sparked a multidisciplinary discussion on oceanographic standards and enable reliable thermohaline circulation and climate predictions. In Dr. Shiflett’s working group, Hannes is researching the interaction of refrigerants with low global warming potential and lubricants in collaboration with the Chemours Company, in order to advance climate-friendly chilling processes.
Carlos Castor Jr
Dr. Carlos Castor received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil. He completed his Master and Doctor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at UFRJ. During his doctorate, Dr. Carlos Castor worked on several research projects in cooperation with some international petrochemical companies, more specifically related to the polymerization processes under Prof. Jose Carlos Pinto leadership and guidance. In 2015 Dr. Carlos Castor worked as a post-doctorate at Tulane University for development and implementation of an Automatic Continuous Online Monitoring and Control Platform for polymerization reactions under Prof. Wayne Reed leadership. From February 2016 to October 2019, he worked as Research Engineer under Prof. Pinto leadership at the Polymer Engineering Laboratory (LabPol). Dr. Carlos Castor joined the Dr. Allgeier and Dr. Shiflett’s research group in November 2019 to develop a continuous polymerization process on different scales. He has experience in chemical reactors, micro-reactors, batch and continuous processes, in particular in the area of modeling/simulation of polymerization processes.
Karim obtained his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Florida in May of 2020. In the summer of 2019, Karim worked under the mentorship of Professor Aaron Scurto as an REU student at KU. His work focused on analyzing thermal properties of refrigerants and ionic liquid mixtures. In August of 2020, Karim rejoined KU to pursue a PhD in Chemical Engineering under the direction of Professor Aaron Scurto. His current work focuses on transport properties of refrigerants and ionic liquid systems.
Abby graduated summa cum laude from Bethel College in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and Mathematics. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Kansas in the Shiflett Research Group. Abby is a member of Project EARTH, a project focused on identifying sustainable processes for the selective separation of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant mixtures. Her research is centered on using membranes for the separation of HFC mixtures that contribute to global warming.
Kalin Baca received her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Bioengineering in May of 2018, Master of Science in Chemical Engineering in December 2019 and Master of Business Administration in December 2019 from the University of New Mexico. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Kansas as a student in the Shiflett Research Group. Her research is focused on the separation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) using ionic liquids.
Nicole Montoya graduated with her B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Bioengineering from the University of Kansas in May of 2019. She joined the Shiflett lab in January of 2020 to pursue her M.S in Chemical Engineering. Her research focuses on the thermal stabilization of vaccines using mesoporous silica in order to eliminate the need for a cold chain transport and increase global vaccine impact. Other research interests include drug delivery and biomaterials.
Ankit received his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India in 2016. He was admitted for his PhD at KU in fall 2016 as a Chancellor’s Fellow. During the first two years of PhD he has worked on development of carbon nanotubes based high surface area materials. Under the guidance of Dr. Shiflett, Ankit is currently working on metal separations from mixed metal oxides. Upon graduation, he plans to pursue a career in industrial research.
Nicholas Reding received his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Kansas in 2016. Following graduation with his undergraduate degree, Nicholas currently works in the field of explosion protection, designing protection solutions for a wide range of applications. After a year of industry experience, he decided to return to KU to pursue a master’s degree in chemical engineering. His research interests include process safety, combustion science, and explosion protection (more specifically, suppression and isolation of non-standard deflagrations). Under the guidance of Dr. Shiflett, Nicholas is currently working on a study that illustrates the effectiveness of various inhibitors for the suppression of highly reactive metal dust deflagrations. Working in collaboration with Fike Corporation, his primary focus is to characterize the ability of various agents to absorb heat and limit the maximum pressure rise during contained combustion. Upon graduation, Nicholas plans to explore additional research studies with continued attention towards industry-related projects.
Andrew earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Baylor University in 2019. He is currently working toward earning a M.S in Chemical Engineering and later plans to pursue a PhD while at KU. His initial research focuses on the development of zeolites and other porous media for the selective separation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Upon graduation, he plans to pursue a career in industry.
Ethan Finberg graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from The University of Kansas in 2019. Following graduation, Ethan was hired by the Chemical & Petroleum Department and began working with Dr. Shiflett as an instructor for the Senior Chemical Engineering Laboratory course. Ethan continues to teach this course and, as of January of 2020, began research with Dr. Shiflett in pursuit of a M.S. in Chemical Engineering. Ethan’s graduate research involves modeling and building an extractive distillation column to separate refrigerants using an ionic liquid solvent.
David R. Corbin, Ph.D.
Dr. Corbin is an adjunct senior research scientist with 32 years of industrial research experience. He has issued 62 US patents and has published more than 130 publications, in addition to co-editing two books on porous materials. His research interests include applications of inorganic materials to industrial problems, zeolites, separations, and metal oxides.
Kenneth Leffew, Ph.D.
Dr. Leffew is an adjunct professor at Villanova University. He retired from DuPont in 2016, where he held the highest technical position in the company, DuPont Fellow. In his 41 year career there, he was involved in the discovery, development and commercialization of numerous polymer processes and products, including Neoprene, PET for bottle resin, PMMA, Ethylene copolymers, polymers for optical disks, color copier toner, OLED devices, flexible solar cells and methanol fuel cells. He received DuPont’s Engineering Excellence Award four times and is inventor on 29 US Patents and has over 60 publications and presentations. His interests include polymerization reactor design, polymer process synthesis and processing, advanced process control and product design.
Undergraduate Student RESEARCHERS
Dorothy Haggard is entering her sophomore year at the University of Kansas with a major in chemical engineering with a pre-med emphasis and a minor in Spanish. She is working with graduate student Kalin Baca on the use of ionic liquids in separating hydrofluorocarbons as a part of project EARTH. Dorothy is a member of two Greek-life organizations, Social Chair for Society of Women Engineers, plans to graduate with honors qualifications, and will serve as a KU engineering student senator during the 2021-2022 school year.
Thao Nguyen is a sophomore pursuing Chemical Engineering with an Environmental Emphasis. Thao is working with Abby Harders (PhD student) on developing membranes for separation of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant mixtures in Dr. Shiflett’s lab. Thao is a member of the Society of Asian Scientists & Engineers. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and watching dramas.
Tiana Bish is a freshman studying chemical engineering on the pre-med track at the University of Kansas. She works with Andrew Yancey (PhD student) on developing zeolites for separation of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant mixtures in Dr. Shiflett’s lab. Tiana is involved in the Society for Biomaterials and is a part of the University Honors Program. She enjoys playing poker and baking with her friends in her free time.
Daniel is currently a sophomore pursuing a degree in chemical engineering with a biomedical emphasis and a minor in math at KU. He is working with Dr. Ana Morais and Dr. Shiflett on Project Shell which is converting waste biomass into reusable materials and chemicals. Daniel is involved with AIChE and is part of the University Honors Program. In his free time, he enjoys reading and working out
Piersen Adamson is a sophomore from Omaha, NE majoring in chemical engineering with a minor in business. He is working with Dr. Ana Morais and Dr. Shiflett on Project Shell, which is developing technology for conversion of biomass into new materials and chemicals. He is a member of the Society for Biomaterials and also the alumni relations chair of my fraternity. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music and working out at the gym.
Jackson is a junior studying Chemical Engineering with a pre-medicine emphasis. Jackson is working with Dr. Ana Morais and Dr. Shiflett on Project Shell, which aims to convert waste biomass into reusable materials and chemicals. In his free time, Jackson mentors a local FIRST robotics team, is involved with intramural sports, and enjoys travelling.
Elizabeth is a freshman studying chemical engineering with a biomedical emphasis. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, she will be researching cold chain independent vaccines using inorganic vehicles. Outside of research, Elizabeth is involved in the KUEST One Scholars Program, Vann Scholars Program, and the University Honors Program. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dog, sewing, and taking care of her plants.
Aria is currently a freshman studying chemical engineering. She is working with Dr. Ana Morais and Dr. Shiflett on Project Shell, which is focused on conversion of biomass into new materials and chemicals. In her spare time Aria enjoys running, watching movies, and reading. Aria is a member of the KU Running Club and Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
Benjamin is a freshman studying chemical engineering with an emphasis in biomed and pre-medicine. He is working with Andrew Yancey and Sophie Terian researching porous media and how they can be used to sustainably separate hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant mixtures. In addition to research, Benjamin is involved in Engineers Without Borders, Ping Pong Club, the University Honors Program, the Society for Biomaterials, and Quidditch as KU. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies, reading, and playing the piano.
Madelyn is a sophomore studying chemical engineering with an environmental emphasis. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, she works on the ionic liquid approach on Project Earth. Madelyn is an iHAWKe ambassador. She is also a member of the Society of Women Engineers and KU Solar Car. In her free time, she enjoys sewing, jewelry making, and dancing.
Alexander is a Sophomore at KU pursuing a degree in chemical engineering with a minor in business. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab he will be working on metal separations from mixed metal oxides. Alexander is also a member of Engineers Without Borders. In his free time he enjoys hiking, fishing, and playing guitar.
Abhishekram is currently a sophomore studying chemical engineering. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, Abhishekram works with Dr. Rajkumar Kore on development of ionic liquid-based materials for sustainable processes. In his free time he enjoys reading, hiking, cycling, and watching movies.
Ethan Eichberger is a junior studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kansas. He is researching the interaction of refrigerants with low global warming potential and lubricants under the supervision of Dr. Hannes Schmidt. At KU, Ethan is also involved in Jayhawk Motorsports and peer tutoring.
Erin is currently a junior studying chemical engineering at KU. In her free time, Erin serves as the Vice President of Campus Relations of Engineering Student Council and as a varsity member of the KU Crew Rowing Team. She is also a part of the University Honors Program and the KUEST ONE Scholars Program.
I am currently a junior pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. I am studying the effects of ionic liquids on hair and I hope to continue working in the cosmetology field of Chemical Engineering throughout college and after graduation. I am also involved in iHAWKE and a new scholarship program at KU called KUEST ONE.
Brian Kirchhoff is a junior studying chemical engineering at the University of Kansas. With the Shiflett Group, he is researching the creation of Cold-Chain Independent Vaccines using Inorganic Vehicles under the supervision of Dr. Picking. Outside of the lab, Brian is a member of the SELF Fellowship, Engineers Without Borders, AIChE, and the Engineering Student Council. In his free time, Brian enjoys hiking, swimming and spending time with friends
Eric is a junior at the University of Kansas majoring in chemical engineering with a premedical focus. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, he exercises his passions for chemistry and medicine as a member of the Vaccine Encapsulation Project; a project which seeks to utilize porous materials in order to inhibit protein denaturation under the conditions of vaccine transport. At KU, Eric is heavily involved with fraternity life, being the Director of Interfraternal Relations on the Junior Interfraternity Council and serving as the Community Service Coordinator and Philanthropy Chairman for his own fraternity, Delta Tau Delta.
Rhianna is currently a senior pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering with a Biomedical emphasis. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, she works on Project Protium and Project Tritium studying membrane permeability with Erin Sturd. Rhianna also serves as the Vice President of the Jayhawk Club Water Polo team.
Greta is a junior at KU studying chemical engineering with an environmental focus. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab she will be working on refrigerant separation in order to decrease their global warming potentials. As a member of the University of Kansas Swim and Dive team, Greta competes in butterfly and sprint freestyle events. In her free time, she enjoys reading and being outdoors.
Sophia is a sophomore, born and raised in Kansas City, studying chemical engineering with an environmental emphasis. She currently works on researching the iron binding capacities of zeolites and other materials with Dr. Mark Shiflett, Dr. David Corbin, and Professor Cory Berkland. Sophia is a member of Engineers Without Borders and the University Honors Program. In her free time, she enjoys painting, poetry, and practicing piano and French.
Lucia is currently a sophmore studying chemical engineering with an environmental concentration. She will be working in the ionic liquid portion of Project EARTH, which focuses on the separation of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants that have a high global warming potential. Lucia is part of the University Honors Program and a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). In her free time she enjoys reading, swimming, and watching movies.